Raymond James vs. LPL

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csmelnix's picture
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Trying to answer on the TRO question.  Indy Onel; whoever you are talking to as a recruiter for LPL have them get you in touch w/ LPL's legal team to review your contract.  They will give you a very detailed approach to take with your transition and transferring of clients that will keep your firm from getting a TRO and also avoiding the non-solicitation and non-compete portions of your contract.  If you follow their approach you will be fine.  Not saying it won't be bumpy because it may, but from a legal stand point; your bank will have no recourse to pursue you, let alone get the TRO.  Also note, just because those documents are signed, they just may not even decide to pursue you at all anyway - doubtful??? but maybe.  Bottom line is, for a period of 3 months it may be a pain, but the life time satisfaction you'll have of running/owning your own business will far exceed that pain and make it all worth while. 

Greenbacks's picture
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 I know I shared this on another post. But I am with LPL and am very satisfied with everything they do! I am moving the majority of my clients to fee base as most of you are to, but I also use Dimensional (DFA's) I do not think RJFS can use these?
 I would also consider going the RIA route? If things changed at LPL! 

Indyone's picture
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I've now visited RJ and have an LPL visit in the works.  For anyone curious, RJ was very impressive...excellent technology, great research, excellent financial planning department, very nice bond desk and hospitality that will be hard to beat.  About the only negative I could come away with was my meeting with the regional sales manager.  I felt like he had some doubts about whether or not I had enough revenue and AUM to make it with RJ.  While my numbers now are more than sufficient for their indy platform ($375K/year), I almost got the impression that he felt like as a bank channel rep, I wouldn't be able to bring enough of my assets with me to cover their $200K minimum production target.
I'm pretty confident that I'll be fine, but I didn't like being challenged (just my ego I guess) and that was a negative in an otherwise solid visit.  Assuming the visit with LPL goes very well also, this is shaping up to be a very difficult decision...stay tuned...

fargo's picture
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Great discussion here. I am considering RJ, LPL and Commonwealth. Can anyone compare Commonwealth with the first two b/ds? Thanks.

Duke#1's picture
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Indyone wrote:
I've now visited RJ and have an LPL visit in the works.  For anyone curious, RJ was very impressive...excellent technology, great research, excellent financial planning department, very nice bond desk and hospitality that will be hard to beat.  About the only negative I could come away with was my meeting with the regional sales manager.  I felt like he had some doubts about whether or not I had enough revenue and AUM to make it with RJ.  While my numbers now are more than sufficient for their indy platform ($375K/year), I almost got the impression that he felt like as a bank channel rep, I wouldn't be able to bring enough of my assets with me to cover their $200K minimum production target.
I'm pretty confident that I'll be fine, but I didn't like being challenged (just my ego I guess) and that was a negative in an otherwise solid visit.  Assuming the visit with LPL goes very well also, this is shaping up to be a very difficult decision...stay tuned...

Indyone, don't be too concerned about the RJ mgmt guy's discussion with you, altho I can understand why you were a little turned off by him questioning your ability to successfully transistion your book. 
RJFS tends to take a very "consultative" approach to recruiting.  They're not trying to be all things to all people, or push to "sell" someone on coming there, or being independent when that may not be what's best for the rep.  They've enjoyed a really high retention rate &, in part, that comes from making sure that reps will find the appropriate fit.
The fact is that bank reps CAN have difficulty in bringing over assets depending on how the rep does business.  If the rep is primarily an "order taker" and hasn't established sound client relationships, those clients are staying with the bank for the most part.  But if the bank rep has a relationship-based business, knows his clients, etc. then the rep should be no less successful than a rep coming from Merrill, etc.
So, while I can see why the mgmt guy may have irritated you, by questioning you about your business, etc. he was actually probably trying to do you a favor.  Bank reps in particular should carefully evaluate how their business will transition.  I could be wrong, but I think this guy was just trying to make sure sure you had done that.

Duke#1's picture
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fargo wrote:Great discussion here. I am considering RJ, LPL and Commonwealth. Can anyone compare Commonwealth with the first two b/ds? Thanks.
I don't know much detail about Commonwealth, but everything I've ever heard is that it is a high quality firm like RJFS & LPL.  Joe Dietch (sp?), its chairman, is apparently a visionary type of guy and has instilled a pretty strong supportive culture.  It's obviously much smaller than either RJFS or LPL, so can't have all the resources -- but it may have everything you need.  It's not self-clearing like RJFS or LPL, which is not that big of a deal for some, but clearly doesn't give the hand's-on operational efficiencies of having a b/d that clears for itself.  Reps seem to be happy there (or at least the few I've run across at various meetings).
I'd certainly put them on my short list if I were looking.

Indyone's picture
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Fargo, my guess, based on the research that I have done, is that RJ and LPL are the most robust firms available for Indys.  If you don't need the broadest product offering and a firm with the most muscle and/or biggest legal departments, Commonwealth is probably fine, although I'll admit my research on CW is pretty limited, as I knew right away that I wanted the biggest and the best.  Every wholesaler I asked told me that LPL and RJ appeared to be the 800 lb. gorillas of the independent rep B/D industry.

Indyone's picture
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Duke,
I understand the issues with client retention among bank channel reps, and I've heard all the insults about bank reps being lazy, poor producers, people that couldn't make it in the wirehouse, etc., etc., etc.  I'll freely admit that I probably wouldn't have made it in the wirehouse arena, as I just don't enjoy the cold-calling sales part of the business.  I much prefer the financial planning side of the business and that style works well for me.
I'm now to the point where I can pick and choose who I work with and I don't view clients as transactions.  I intend to prune my book as I leave and it will shrink further as a few clients will choose to stay with the bank for one reason or another.  I'm certainly looking forward to getting rid of the short-term CD rate shoppers, clients who are rapidly depleting their retirement accounts, people (I can't even call them clients) who ask how much the commission is on every transaction, and those who freak out every time the Dow drops 50 points.
The pipeline looks very promising and I'm OK with the RJ sales manager playing devil's advocate here, but I think the tide is changing, at least in my market.  Banks are wising up and hiring better reps instead of promoting people ill-suited to the industry as they have in the past.  Who knows, the sales manager at LPL may be an ___hole too...I'll certainly leave RJ in the mix...

Duke#1's picture
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Indyone, my comments didn't mean to deminish you as a bank broker, if you took it that way.  So, sorry about that if that's the way it came across.
There are many very professional, competent, high-end reps at banks who run their businesses no different from if there were at a wirehouse, etc.  My thoughts were just to zero in on those platform bank reps who do operate primarily as order-takers.  They are the ones who are fooling themselves if they think they're taking much of their book with them.
By the way, I don't know if LPL has changed its HQ visit agenda recently, but in many ways it was/is much "slicker" than RJ's.  It was a very packaged sort of dog & pony show with formal presentations, while RJ's was one of multiple informal meetings with various departments running all around the firm.  I mention this only because the "packaging" of the LPL visit is impressive, but seemed like more of a sales pitch.  RJ's allowed for more getting into the nitty-gritty of the firm's various departments.  I mention this only to be careful in evaluating form versus substance when you compare your two visits. 
In particular, LPL's tech presentation was really slick, but as with most formal presentations it glossed over much of the reality.  I know RJ's tech presentation is pretty informal, but it shows you the actual tech as you might be using it.  So, if LPL's tech presentation is still more of a prepared semi-canned presentation, I'd suggest you have them launch and navigate their various modules from scratch, just as if you were doing that, and ask them a lot of "how do I do this?" questions.  That'll give you a much better realistic appreciation for how the two tech platforms may be different.

Indyone's picture
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Duke,
I appreciate your feedback amd no, I didn't take your commentary personally.  I do believe that there are bank reps who can't for a variety of reasons, make the transition, and obviously, I don't include myself in that group.  The only point I was trying to make was that I feel like the industry (not necessarily you) has unfairly lumped most bank brokers into a stereotyped group of lazy order takers.  I honestly do feel like the at least several banks have learned from earlier mistakes and do a much better job of recruiting quality now then they did when I came into the industry (I like to consider my bank one of the lucky ones).
Also appreciate the feedback on insight on the office visits.  With your comments in mind, I feel like I can separate the hype from the actual platform and come away with a pretty good real life comparison.  Thanks again...

Indyone's picture
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Have now completed both visits and have some interesting takeaways.  It appears that Raymond James' compliance is a bit stricter than LPL's.  I don't know if that's good or bad to be honest, but it seems a bit tough in places, probably due to the Herula mess.  Also, the technology in many areas seems remarkably similar (and in both cases, very solid), probably due to some personnel migration between the two firms.
I'm in teh process of listing all of the pros & cons of both firms and trying to come to a conclusion.  Next step is calling references...I asked both firms for three references that have come over from the other side.  I'm hoping that these conversations are enlightening and can prove decisive. 
The transition package seems to give RJ a slight advantage with RJ paying out unrestricted cash and LPL providing benefits with some strings attached, such as blotter credits and start-up expense reimbursements.  On the other hand, LPL looks to have a slightly higher payout and lower E&O cost.  Both firms offer start-up loans equal to 10% of trailing 12 production.
Bottom line is, despite three months of research and two very nice due diligence trips (take 'em if you get a chance), there is still no clear-cut winner.  The good news is, it looks like I could succeed regardless of which partner I choose...stay tuned...

troll's picture
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Indyone wrote:
Have now completed both visits and have some interesting takeaways.  It appears that Raymond James' compliance is a bit stricter than LPL's.  I don't know if that's good or bad to be honest, but it seems a bit tough in places, probably due to the Herula mess.  Also, the technology in many areas seems remarkably similar (and in both cases, very solid), probably due to some personnel migration between the two firms.
I'm in teh process of listing all of the pros & cons of both firms and trying to come to a conclusion.  Next step is calling references...I asked both firms for three references that have come over from the other side.  I'm hoping that these conversations are enlightening and can prove decisive. 
The transition package seems to give RJ a slight advantage with RJ paying out unrestricted cash and LPL providing benefits with some strings attached, such as blotter credits and start-up expense reimbursements.  On the other hand, LPL looks to have a slightly higher payout and lower E&O cost.  Both firms offer start-up loans equal to 10% of trailing 12 production.
Bottom line is, despite three months of research and two very nice due diligence trips (take 'em if you get a chance), there is still no clear-cut winner.  The good news is, it looks like I could succeed regardless of which partner I choose...stay tuned... newly joined LPL and am happy to be there!  great platform, solid ethics...

indytwo's picture
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indyone
I recently made the move to lpl and i can tell you that it has been a great experience so far.  I have ready your posts and i think its time for you to make a decsion.  Flip a quater,  pick a number, you've researched this to death now make the call and run to freedom

kusamba's picture
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Take a look at Century Securities
www.centurysecurities.com

Indyone's picture
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Kusamba, you have three posts...all the same.  I'm not personally interested in another due diligence run, but I'd like to know your affiliation...are you employed by Century?  If so, you need to disclose that.  This is not a thread for spamming us with your employer's ads...this discussion is supposed to be about a comparison between Raymond James and LPL.  If you want to go another direction, please start your own thread and quit hijacking mine!

double trouble's picture
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Indyone, you said that Raymond James offered unrestricted cash. Is that a small upfront bonus to transfer?

Indyone's picture
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DT,
Yes, it's an upfront bonus.  I was told 3% of trailing 12, but that's their first offer and I've heard of 5% offers...probably for higher production than my level though.  At any level, up-front money for an independent is a pretty good deal, in my opinion.  It certainly wasn't a factor in my decision to leave, but at the same time, it's a nice bonus.

Duke#1's picture
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IndyOne, I'm glad you eventually decided to do both due diligence trips.
There's probably not too much bottom-line difference in economics between the two firms by the time you factor in everything.  Payout at LPL is a bit higher on packaged products, but RJ is a bit higher on general securities.  As I recall, LPL is higher on tech costs (only $50/mo at RJ plus costs for Reuter's if you need it).  They also seem to do more nickle & diming on costs than RJ.  RJ's monthly fee of $250 covers e&o and most other stuff, while LPL has separate E&O, monthly fee, etc.  I don't know if they still do, but LPL hit reps with about 35 bps per month covering NASD and SIPC fees.  The point is, by the time you look at everything they're probably reasonably close, with the primary determining factor being your product mix (which may well change in the future).
Great idea on references.  Try to make sure they each give you names of reps who had been OSJs at the other firm, and not just a rep.  Also, if any of the former RJ references now with LPL are lower producers (say, under $200k) you might take their opinions about RJ with a grain of salt.  As you probably know, RJFS has spent the past couple years "counseling out" lower producers and closing branches that don't meet current minimums ($200k).   I'm sure many of them went to LPL, where the branch minimum is only $125k.  So, they may have some hard feelings about getting canned by RJ for low production.
As I've said before, you probably won't be unhappy with either choice, so this may end being a gut decision unless your pro/con list based on your particular needs/objectives is clear-cut.  As a part of your decision process you might check the temperature with a few of your "A" clients (e.g., do any of them have any preference on which firm is handling their securities; give them an RJF annual report and the LPL financials.) 
Whatever the final decision you'll sure be happier as an independent.  Thanks for sharing your process.  

Indyone's picture
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Duke,
The references were very helpful and insightful.  One even talked to me from his cell phone on the putting green!  The bottom line is, while they gave me some small insights that I hadn't previously heard, none of them really bashed his/her previous firm.  I got the impression that the transitions from one firm to the other were, for the most part, amicable.
In the end, I made a very difficult decision to select one firm over the other.  Factors that decided it for me in the end were more related to the fit for my business rather than bells & whistles.  I chose based on technology that I was very attracted to.  I chose because of the conversations that I had with my prospective sales managers at each firm (this one was not even close...and my recruiter at the losing firm comfirmed that I was not the first candidate that cited the sales manager as a deciding factor).  I chose because of a major difference in compliance for my business model (working with local CPAs and revenue sharing in some instances).  I also chose because of perceived better assistance working through the non-compete (one firm told me that I would need to hire my own atty, the other indicated that we could speak to in-house counsel for some advice.  They also indicated that they would hire an atty to defend both the firm and me if necessary, and we could share atty fees, at least to a point).  Finally, I chose my firm because a friend who lives nearby was already there.  Naturally, this makes it easier to compare notes, cover for each other's vacations, etc.
In return, I realize that I am giving up some advantages by selecting one firm over the other, and I certainly don't believe that the firm I selected is the best fit for everyone, and it's obvious from this forum, that many people have selected to partner with Raymond James and likewise, many have chosen to partner with LPL.  If I ended up unhappy with the firm that I chose, I'd go to the other without hesitation (I can overcome the sales manager...I'd just ignore him).
Anyone figure out which way I've gone yet? (the guy I PM'd is ineligible to guess...and you know who you are)  Just for fun, I'll let you guess for a day before I come back and reveal the decision.
Now I just have to get about a million things done before my transition date...stay tuned...

Duke#1's picture
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Based on your comment about the "sales manager" and your earlier post that you didn't hit it off with the RJ guy, I'd say you're going to  LPL. 
But, if I'm right on that, some of your other comments confused me.  For example you say you'll do a lot of CPA referral biz and that was a plus for the firm you chose.  If you didn't choose RJFS, then you may be missing something.  RJ was one of the first firms in the industry to establish a formal program to share revenues with CPAs, lawyers, etc. (called their "Professional Partners Program").  I can't imagine what advantage, if any, LPL would have in this area.  If you have doubts, you might ask your RJ recruiter to put you in touch with one their OSJs in the Dallas area who's primary focus is the CPA referral program (and coincidentally he came to RJ from LPL about 5 or 6 years ago).
Also, if I understood you correctly, your firm of choice apparently gave you greater comfort on the legal support if you faced issues with your non-compete.  But, what you describe certainly seems to apply to RJ (and may to LPL also).  Neither firm can have their counsel directly represent you, because you're an independent contractor.  (If one of the firms told you you didn't need your own counsel, they lied and I'd reconsider that firm.) So, for each firm, you should get your own counsel if needed. RJ does make their in-house counsel available to review your contract, give you advice, etc. (and will work with your counsel), but they can't represent you.  Whoever told you that you could share outside counsel (and share the costs) is at best giving you bad advice, and at worse is lying to you.  If you're legally attacked for violating your contract (and the b/d is named as well, which normally isn't the case), you should still get your own counsel, because your interests are different from those of the b/d.  To help with outside counsel, RJ has a list of experienced securities attornies around the country that they've negotiated a great fee arrangement for their indy reps.  And, as a part of their transition assistance they'll help with legal fees.  My point is, if you picked LPL for better legal support, I think you either didn't get a clear picture of what RJ does or the LPL recruiter puffed a bit.
Re technology, that's very much a personal decision.  RJ's is superior to LPL in terms of sophistication and the bells & whistles, but LPL's is very good, and for what you need it may well have come across as being more comfortable. 
IndyOne, based on the above, if LPL was your choice I'd guess your decision was based more on subjective feelings (you didn't get along with the sales guy, your local friend at LPL gives you some comfort, etc.) than objective analysis, and that's obviously fine.  But, I have to admit that my great positive experience at RJ gets me riled up when someone doesn't come here, particularly when they cite some elements/perceptions about RJ that aren't entirely accurate.  One of the reasons I'm here is that I caught my LPL recruiter in at least one lie about RJ, and I couldn't be with a firm that started out the relationship that way.  But, that's my issue.  As I've said before, you can end up being happy at either firm, and you'll never look back with any regret on having made the decision to go indy.  Best of luck with your transition!!

Indyone's picture
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Duke,
You guessed it right...and obviously it didn't take a lot of effort given the clues I left behind.  I'll start addressing your comments by telling you that yes, a lot of my decision process was somewhat subjective.  It was necessarily so given the fact that most of the objective comparisons (such as payout) were very close in measurement and did not really indicate a clear winner for me, so yes, company feel had a lot to do with it.  As far as recruiters went, both companies had excellent recruiters and I really didn't come across a lot of bad-mouthing about either firm.  Both recruiters did a good job differentiating their B/Ds, and lined up excellent visits.
I'll have to tell you, the professional partners program is under some serious scrutiny at RJ.  Their compliance people sat right across the table at my RJ visit and absolutely told me that this was the case, as there is a concern that RJ could potentially be liable for other areas of their professional partners' practices.  I'm confident that I heard that correctly as I asked several followup questions to verify what I'd been told.  I'm not sure what the change in view is coming from, but the compliance environment in this particular area seemed to be getting stricter.
On the legal assistance front, I can't say a lot about that at the moment, but I'll try to address it later once the dust settles a bit.  I have no doubt that RJ would do what they feel they can do, but again, there are some assurances that have been made by LPL that give me a greater comfort level.  RJ may be just as strong in legal support, but they did not articulate that in my visits, so I am only going on what I have been told and the assurances that have been made, so of course, the end result could be different than I expect.  Hopefully, this area will be pretty much a moot point as I am doing all I can to keep my litigation profile low.
On tech, there were pros and cons on both sides and frankly, the differences were not great...it was more of a fit issue with my practice.
Bottom line, other than what I just discussed, there wasn't a nickel's worth of difference relating to my practice, but unless the folks at RJ said things that were inaccurate, I think I painted about as factual a picture as I possibly could, other than things that are by necessity, subjective.  Both are great firms and had my business plan and customer book been a bit different, there is a very solid chance that I could have just as easily gone the other way with this decision.  RJ certainly has nothing to be ashamed of (although they may want to reconsider their sales mgr for my region, or at least fine-tune his presentation), as they are a very fine firm.  I would have no problem recommending either firm as a great place to go indy...
...and frankly, I'm looking forward to the transition...stay tuned...

Indyone's picture
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Am now operating as an independent.  What a difference.  I have an office setup that I only dreamed about in my bank...CNBC piped right into my office, excellent equipment and excellent furniture...a beautiful setup.  Frankly, it makes my old office at the bank look pitiful.
The clients are finding me even before the ads hit the paper...$7mm in asset already committed and that's just the tip of the iceberg.  Life is good...even when you have to do paperwork...

ezmoney's picture
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Indy,
How long were you with the bank, and how did you do moving your book.i.e. what % of book ended up transferring? What bank were you with. Were you given a hard time with the non-compete you signed?

troll's picture
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Indyone wrote:Am now operating as an independent.  What a
difference.  I have an office setup that I only dreamed about in
my bank...CNBC piped right into my office, excellent equipment and
excellent furniture...a beautiful setup.  Frankly, it makes my old
office at the bank look pitiful.
The clients are finding me even before the ads hit the paper...$7mm
in asset already committed and that's just the tip of the
iceberg.  Life is good...even when you have to do paperwork...

Congrats!

Indyone's picture
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ezmoney wrote:
Indy,
How long were you with the bank, and how did you do moving your book.i.e. what % of book ended up transferring? What bank were you with. Were you given a hard time with the non-compete you signed?

By necessity, I have to keep my answers somewhat vague here since this is a public forum, and frankly, it remains to be seen as to how hard a time my former employer will give me about making the move and transferring customers.  Thus far, customers are finding me through newpaper ads and word of mouth.
I am attempting to keep the possibility of a suit low by following some advice I've received, some of it obvious, like don't send any letters to your old customer base, and don't take ANYTHING with you when you go.  Some is less obvious, such as what you should and should not say when customers call you.  Some pretty innocent comments can be taken as solicitation, so it pays to be careful.
As far as how long, let's just say at least five years, and as for how much will ultimately transfer, it's anybody's guess.  I would ultimately expect to get 75-80% of the accounts that I want.  Some will stay where they are out of loyalty to the bank or pure apathy and that's fine.  I'll take what comes, but I think I'll focus on new stuff for awhile or at least until the non-solicit runs out.
The bottom line is, if you're unhappy, the money really doesn't matter as long as you can make enough tp pay the bills.  If you were successful with your old employer, you'll eventually do fine as an independent, provided you have at least some ability to run your own business.

double trouble's picture
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Indy,
I have just started thinking about changing my b/d. I may go independent.
What can I do to let my clients know where I am, without getting hit with a TRO?
I have been with my present firm for a long time and do not believe I have anything to worry about in the area of a non-compete clause.
I have been told it's ok to call your clients AFTER you have made the change. Just make sure you do not mail or e-mail anything to them.
Someone else said you can not even call them. They have to find you.
Which is right?
Thanks,
Double Trouble

Starka's picture
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Double trouble, this is far too important a move to solicit advice on an internet forum.  When I went, I got out my copy of the employment contract that I signed, and spoke with a labor attorney that Bill Singer recommended to me.  I did what I was told, and never had so much as a whiff of trouble. 
The best advice I can offer, for what it's worth, is to consult an attorney.

troll's picture
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Starka wrote:Double trouble, this is far too important a move to
solicit advice on an internet forum.  When I went, I got out my
copy of the employment contract that I signed, and spoke with
a labor attorney that Bill Singer recommended to me.  I did
what I was told, and never had so much as a whiff of trouble. 
The best advice I can offer, for what it's worth, is to consult an attorney.

I'll second that motion....

Duke#1's picture
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DT, don't assume that because you've been with your firm a long time that you don't have anything to worry about.   I've never heard of a rep contract that freed someone due to tenure (except for trainee contracts relating to the repayment terms of training costs).  So, you're right to be sensitive to the issue.
While a securities attorney probably will be necessary (at a minimum for initial consultation & strategizing), you're at the infancy stage of considering independence.  So, I'd first take advantage of talking with in-house counsel at a couple of the major indy firms. They can't ultimately represent you, but they can offer some good overview of the good, bad & ugly of your potential contractual problems.  Once you've gotten reasonably serious with an indy firm (and they're interested in you) your recruiter there can set up a conference call with one of their lawyers.  When you've decided to make a move, they can then refer you to competent counsel & may have even negotiated some favorably fee arrangements.

Indyone's picture
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DT,
If you never signed any non-compete/non-solicit, then yes, I'd say you are OK, but if you ever did, I'd listen to the advice you've been given and have the agreement reviewed by a good labor attorney...it will be money well spent.
About the only thing I'm pretty confident about is that my newspaper ads don't violate a non-solicit.  They DO violate my non-compete, but that's something that can't be helped (I have to make a living, man!).  You'll not get much advice from any indy firm counsel until you commit to the firm.  At that point, they can be pretty helpful for you.
Good luck...
Indy

OldTimer's picture
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Hello there. I've been reading for a while (lurking) but never posted. I have been at 2 major wirehouses forever and am thinking of indy. I heard from one old colleage that LPL offered a trasition package. I have never heard that before from any indy. channel (except the Wachovia "psudo" indy).  Any info is greatly appreciated.
 

Indyone's picture
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OldTimer wrote:
Hello there. I've been reading for a while (lurking) but never posted. I have been at 2 major wirehouses forever and am thinking of indy. I heard from one old colleage that LPL offered a trasition package. I have never heard that before from any indy. channel (except the Wachovia "psudo" indy).  Any info is greatly appreciated.
 

Old Timer,
From my due diligence, I can tell you that both Raymond James and LPL offer transition packages, although they are modest in comparison to those offered to captive brokers.  Both offer interest-free loans in the vicinity of 10% of trailing 12.  LPL is interest-free for six months, RJ for 90 days.  In addition, RJ offered me 3% of trailing 12 as a bonus and LPL offered 2% blotter credit.  There are some small extras beyond that such as covering the training materials for the 24 and the first order of cards, letterhead, etc.  Some legal assistance may also be available if you get in a non-compete fight, but I can tell you that they don't promise this.
Bottom line is, the transition package is relatively modest, but considering the fact that you can move your book anytime as an independent, I'm frankly still surprised that anything is offered.
I'm new as an indy, but I can tell you that from my standpoint, I feel like I've been paroled.  If I were in your shoes, I'd visit (at their expense) both of these indy firms and see what they had to offer.  My guess is that if you make the trips, it won't be long until you go indy with one firm or the other.  If you go back to the beginning of this thread and read it forward, there's a lot of good information.  Good luck with your search!

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Indyone wrote:OldTimer wrote:
Hello there. I've been reading for a while (lurking) but never posted. I have been at 2 major wirehouses forever and am thinking of indy. I heard from one old colleage that LPL offered a trasition package. I have never heard that before from any indy. channel (except the Wachovia "psudo" indy).  Any info is greatly appreciated.
 

Old Timer,
From my due diligence, I can tell you that both Raymond James and LPL offer transition packages, although they are modest in comparison to those offered to captive brokers.  Both offer interest-free loans in the vicinity of 10% of trailing 12.  LPL is interest-free for six months, RJ for 90 days.  In addition, RJ offered me 3% of trailing 12 as a bonus and LPL offered 2% blotter credit.  There are some small extras beyond that such as covering the training materials for the 24 and the first order of cards, letterhead, etc.  Some legal assistance may also be available if you get in a non-compete fight, but I can tell you that they don't promise this.
Bottom line is, the transition package is relatively modest, but considering the fact that you can move your book anytime as an independent, I'm frankly still surprised that anything is offered.
I'm new as an indy, but I can tell you that from my standpoint, I feel like I've been paroled.  If I were in your shoes, I'd visit (at their expense) both of these indy firms and see what they had to offer.  My guess is that if you make the trips, it won't be long until you go indy with one firm or the other.  If you go back to the beginning of this thread and read it forward, there's a lot of good information.  Good luck with your search!

Yep Yep....it is soooooo good to be FREE AT LAST!

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To all that have been following this forum.  I have recently made the move to indy.  I choose LPL as my b/d over Raymond James.  Both firms are great and it was a tough call.  So for those of you looking for a clear cut answer you may not find it. 
Im started my firm six weeks ago.  LPL has delivered on everything they promised.  The transition has been smooth accept for the legal issues with my old firm.  LPL's legal counsel has been great through that process.  Without them i would have been in some serious trouble.  There tech is as advertised and there internal service is very good.  The only problem (minor) I have run into is that im having a hard time reaching my transition manager.  They are so busy with all the reps they are adding its hard to get the manager on the phone.  However in there defense they have been relatively quick returning phone calls. 
In a few weeks I will share more as my legal issue get resolved.  Good luck to all and trust me that INDY beats working for someone else.
 
Indytwo

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indytwo wrote:
To all that have been following this forum.  I have recently made the move to indy.  I choose LPL as my b/d over Raymond James.  Both firms are great and it was a tough call.  So for those of you looking for a clear cut answer you may not find it. 
Im started my firm six weeks ago.  LPL has delivered on everything they promised.  The transition has been smooth accept for the legal issues with my old firm.  LPL's legal counsel has been great through that process.  Without them i would have been in some serious trouble.  There tech is as advertised and there internal service is very good.  The only problem (minor) I have run into is that im having a hard time reaching my transition manager.  They are so busy with all the reps they are adding its hard to get the manager on the phone.  However in there defense they have been relatively quick returning phone calls. 
In a few weeks I will share more as my legal issue get resolved.  Good luck to all and trust me that INDY beats working for someone else.
 
Indytwo

It can be very tough getting through to the transition team members......but they are some sharp folks!

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I agree.  Look at BOTH firms in detail.  Also look at your business and your clients.  I went with RJFS and am quite happy.  I visted both Tampa and San Diego and after doing my own due diligence and looking at my business the choice was an easy one.  I just spent a lot of time looking at the firms (Wachovia too) and asked many questions and read much of the material and talked to reps etc...
Good luck.

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zacko wrote:
I agree.  Look at BOTH firms in detail.  Also look at your business and your clients.  I went with RJFS and am quite happy.  I visted both Tampa and San Diego and after doing my own due diligence and looking at my business the choice was an easy one.  I just spent a lot of time looking at the firms (Wachovia too) and asked many questions and read much of the material and talked to reps etc...
Good luck.

I thought wachovia was pretty lame.  'psuedo-indy'

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I agree.  They draw a few guys with a dog and pony show and promises for the future.  They also pay front money to the effect of 25% of your trailing 12 if memory serves.  All things equal--who would goto Wachovia?  They have to pay the front money to get any draw at all.

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Thank You for all the imput. I don't know if you are very fee based Indy2, but if so, how is the LPL platform working for you. I.E. do you have the outside managers at your disposal?  What is the payback to the firm (at the wirehouse, I give back 45bp and everything else charged goes to my grid (which SUCKS).  Finally, are there "ticket charges" with regard to outside managed accounts?  Thanks for all your help. I am really starting to consider this.

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OT, I'll not speak for I2, but in my opinion, LPL pays very well and has a very nice platform for fee-based.  PM me with an email address and I'll see if I can find a PDF that I can send you detailing all the SAM payout and charge info.  From what I can tell at this early stage in the game, LPL pays you 80%+ on the gross after ticket charges, but that varies a lot, depending on size and makeup of the account.  and yes, outside managers are available...
Whan I left, I was close to halp fee-based...my goal as an Indy is 85% in 5 years...

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Ot
Pay close attention to the Pdf indy1 sends you.  I think it will open your eyes.  He covered the SAM accounts pretty well
 

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Indy One & Two, OT is asking about separate account management, not the SAM account.  So, get him LPL's stuff on your "Manager Select" program.

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Duke, I noticed that, but referenced SAM due to a slip of the keyboard (probably since I am using SAM so much these days).
BTW, two weeks in and just over $8 mil in transit with about $5 mil in fee-based thus far.  I am busy, but loving it.  I'll keep you posted on my progress...

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Another observation for anyone contemplating moving...do it in the summer!!!  If I waited to the end of the year and tried to do this in my busy season, I don't think I'd survive!  It's August and I'm swamped...and loving it!!!

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Indy1,
Can't tell you how appreciative I am to have found this thread.  I'm standing on the ledge about to jump--heading to SD soon.
How much start-up capital is needed?  Rent here is approx 1,900/mo, f/t asst is 2,300/mo.  LPL showing me #'s next week, but I am chomping at the bit!
Thx for your insight--truly a blessing!

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ExNIRSS wrote:
Indy1,
Can't tell you how appreciative I am to have found this thread.  I'm standing on the ledge about to jump--heading to SD soon.
How much start-up capital is needed?  Rent here is approx 1,900/mo, f/t asst is 2,300/mo.  LPL showing me #'s next week, but I am chomping at the bit!
Thx for your insight--truly a blessing!

Get out while you can.  I think it will only become harder to leave a wire and keep your clients in the future.
I have been with LPL since May and am loving it.  Technology is great, and their culture is excellent!

Indyone's picture
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ExNIRSS wrote:
Indy1,
Can't tell you how appreciative I am to have found this thread.  I'm standing on the ledge about to jump--heading to SD soon.
How much start-up capital is needed?  Rent here is approx 1,900/mo, f/t asst is 2,300/mo.  LPL showing me #'s next week, but I am chomping at the bit!
Thx for your insight--truly a blessing!

ExNIRSS,
Glad to hear this is a useful thread.  It has truly been a journey with a lot of twists and turns, but is thus far, a very rewarding shift in my career.  As for start-up costs, I can give you some insight based on expenses I encountered when setting up.
As near as I can see, start-up costs are very, very low in this industry.  For one rep and an assistant, you are talking about $5,000 for state of the art computer equipment.  Oddly enough, with Dell's quality reputation, I ended up with a wide-screen Gateway notebook.  I liked it because the numeric keypad is built right into the keyboard and it's the only model I found like that.  If you enter a lot of numbers, this is VERY nice.  Nicer yet, I sprung for a docking station (or port replicator), a 19" thin screen monitor, and a wireless keyboard and mouse.  Now, my powerful notebook is a powerful desktop that can be unplugged and packed for taking with me in a few short seconds.
I spent some bucks on furniture, particularly in my office, due to wanting to present a class operation.  My office alone ran about $11,000, but is very classy.  I also put a medium-size flat-screen TV in the corner so I can run CNBC and Bloomberg on mute during the day (despite what we teach our clients, when they come in the office, they like to see how the market is doing and what the current price of a barrell of oil is) $200 should do it here...you don't need a big TV in your office.
Your rent is higher than my area, but your FT assistant number is in line.  I think renting is definitely the way to go initially.  The last headache you need when you're knee-deep in ACAT forms, is dealing with contractors and repairmen!  Down the road when things have settles down a bit, then maybe consider your own location, depending on cost/benefit.
Overall, my best guesstimate for your situation is that start-up could run $30,000-40,000 to get everything set up and cover overhead for three months or so.  My expenses were considerably less, but I had some cost-sharing advantages.  I'd be interested to hear some other estimates from people who have done the move recently.
Enjoy the trip and good luck with your jump...

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Here's my overhead in Southwest Georgia:
Bought an acre of land out in the middle of nowhere: $1,500. I figure anyone who drives this far to see me is going to open an account!
Bought a used, single-wide trailer and parked it on the acre of land: $5,000. (I use this for an office.) Don't want to let-on how much money I make. A double-wide would've been puttin' on airs.
Three mounted deer heads for the office: $450. Gotta let my clients know I share their interests.
Framed GED to hang on the wall: $25. Academic accomplishments are important to my clients.
Five different colored clip-on ties: $15. Gotta look professional!
Hank Williams songs playing in the background, stereo, & speakers: $150. Settin' the mood.
King-size bed sheet to cover my used sofa, in the reception area: $25. Nothin's too good for my clients!
Throw rug to cover the hole in the floor: $25. I was showin' off my new huntin' rifle and it fired.
Case of beer: $15. For when clients get thirsty.
My cousin's old Apple II computer: $10. Nah, it doesn't run. I just keep it on my desk to look state of the art.
Three graphite fly swatters: $15. If you lived here, you'd know why.
Used tv, used vcr, and a tape of CNBC from June 6, 2003: $75. I can't get cable out here and the local stations are fuzzy, using my antenna. So, I replay the CNBC tape (muted) when clients are here.
Yep, I got a pretty sweet deal out here. My clients? They love it! Why, I wish you could see this big wad of money orders I took in just today! And it's all going in a mutual fund with front-end & back-end charges! Sure beats sellin' used cars!     Eat your heart out!!
 
 

Indyone's picture
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Man, I didn't know Jeff Foxworthy was a moonlight rep...
Dob, you crack me up...I take it you drive an old Lincoln with a couple of hubcaps missing and the headliner hangin' down and flappin' in the breeze...

indytwo's picture
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 Dob
Wow! That was  awesome!

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